Its interesting to speculate why the larvae and adults of various species are so very different. Take this species of moth – the grey dagger. A brightly coloured caterpillar and a rather sombre adult. I can only speculate on the reasons but of course evolution knows the answer!
The brightly coloured hairy yellow and orange caterpillar of the grey dagger on elm.
Maybe being hairy makes the caterpillar unappealing to lots of small birds whilst the orange and yellow colours send warning messages of danger?
The adult is grey with the black streak – the black marking is the ‘dagger’
Perhaps on a lichen covered tree the grey dagger blends in with its background making it invisible to predators?
Thanks to Steve Brayshaw for sending me a couple of grey dagger adult photos from Northamptonshire.